The Malik Report
Updated with the Wings' official "Game Day Preview" video at 3:44 PM, and FYI:
Also: SI's Allan Muir's correct in stating that the Sabres are the favorites tow in, too...But they were the favorites to win last year!
Also Also: Sorry for short "assessments"...Had an anxiety attack as rink filled up. It happens.
Also Also Also: The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau posted a photo gallery from this morning's skate.
The Wings' prospects--consisting of a deliberately "green" roster and healthy number of try-outs--begin their defense of the team's one and only prospect tournament title as they begin a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights against the Blues this evening (7:30 PM at Centre Ice Arena; the Wings play Columbus on Saturday and Minnesota on Monday, with Sunday's schedule consisting of practices but no games).
Updated 2x at 2:36 PM: The boss and I are assuming that the Red Wings' NHL'ers didn't practice today due to the Zetterberg Foundation's charitable event in Troy, MI, this evening, and I have no idea whether the Wings will practice tomorrow given that the ice will have to be covered for HockeyFest at the Joe on Sunday, but the lack of skating in Detroit didn't yield any slow-down in Wings-related news.
As Paul noted, the Wings posted an interview with Kyle Quincey, and this afternoon,
Stanley Cup of Chowder can take a long walk off a short pier, I mean Fox Sports Detroit's Andrea Nelson posted an interview with Stephen Weiss, who explained why he needed a second surgery to remove scar tissue from his...core muscle?
"I had a lot of nerve entrapments that were pinching on scar tissue and every time I moved my leg it was like having a root canal on your groin," Weiss said. "It was no fun."
The Red Wings' prospects engaged in a particularly spirited pregame skate ahead of tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM, no TV :( :( :() mostly focusing on puck-retrieval, penalty-killing, breakouts and the kind of "stuff" you'd expect from a game-day skate.
I got to watch the Dallas Stars practice beforehand and was happy to get an "accidental check" from Jim Nill, who held court with some of the Wings' scouts during the Stars' practice, but he was out of the rink by the time the Wings skated as they're not in the Wings' division and won't see Detroit until, well, Tuesday's potential-championship-deciding games.
The practice included a total of 8 "coaches" on the ice in Jeff Blashill, new Griffins assistant coaches Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, Chris Chelios as a defensive mentor and Mike Knuble as something of a consultant, as well as Jim Bedard and his assistant/OSU goalie coach Jeff Salajko.
It was VERY interesting to watch the Griffins' new coaches get their feet wet as Blashill put everyone through an incredibly, incredibly fast-paced "morning skate"...
from Craig Peterson at the Wings' website,
The Red Wings’ lack of a high-profile free agent signing in the offseason has been highly discussed in the weeks following July 1, but the absence of a big move could be a move in itself.
“I think it’s a big positive,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said. “We have a structure and a system that we know inside and out, and game one … we know each other, we know exactly what to expect. We know the system, so we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Quincey, who said it was an easy decision to re-sign with the Wings – for two seasons worth $8.5 million – during the offseason, was one of two players to appear in all 82 regular-season games last year. Forward Drew Miller was the other.
“I’ve had a couple rough seasons with injuries and battling through them,” Quincey said. “It’s part of the game and it’s going to happen. I’m fortunate to play all 82 games. I never thought it was possible. Hopefully it keeps going and hopefully we finally get a year with very, very low injuries.”
I was in transit to Traverse City last night, so I didn't see this Tweet from TSN's Darren Dreger. The Score's Josh Gold-Smith did see it, and it seems to put Daniel Alfredsson's future in a bit of doubt:
If I am to play "Let's Overanalyze This Tweet to Death," I'd suggest that it's a "Good news/bad news situation."
It's good to hear that Alfredsson doesn't plan on signing anything more than a pro try-out until he believes that he can play through back issues--that's ideally how the situation should unfold given his over-35 status yielding $ on the Wings' cap figure regardless of whether he plays or retires...
But if he isn't willing to skate through twinges and pain, that opens up the whole, "Okay, so why are you trying this anyway?" can of worms, which is why it can be so very dangerous to overanalyze a single Tweet. Let's find out what Alfredsson has to say first, and whether he does indeed skate through some pain or decides to hold off for another couple of days.
The Red Wings' prospects open their defense of the team's one and only title at the 8-team prospect tournament tonight against the St. Louis Blues, but before doing so, they'll hit the ice in Traverse City at 11:30 AM, taking part in a "morning skate."
The tournament's "gotten very big" in terms of media coverage; the Blues have a webpage set up to follow their prospects, and NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale has already authored an article setting up the tournament as a "hotbed for future stars."
This morning, NHL.com's Tal Pinchevsky discusses the possibility that Anthony Mantha might parlay a strong tournament showing into a spot on the Wings' roster, this time speaking with Wings special assistant to the general manager GM Kris Draper about Mantha's potential:
I've made it up to Traverse City in one piece ahead of the Red Wings' prospect tournament; for the Wings, the schedule kicks off on Friday with an 11:30 AM practice for new set of prospects and try-outs, and then the Wings' prospects will battle the St. Louis, and as usual...
I leave the damn house and things go willy-nilly. The NHLs announced preseason rule changes are intriguing; aside from further diminishing Todd Bertuzzi's chances of finding gainful employment, a bigger trapezoid should remedy some of those nasty hits defensemen face carrying the puck out of the "valley of death," I like the league's expansion of game misconduct penalties (are clipping, charging, elbowing, kneeing, interference, head-butting, and butt-ending sometimes worthy of game misconducts? Yep!) and the review process for goals has been kind-of-sort-of-expanded, which is never a bad thing (especially when "your team" has been on both sides of a puck going off the netting and eventually into the back of the net).
The Red Wings post this press release every year, and while it involves events that are "closed to the public," I'm impressed with the ever-growing scope of the Wings' pre-training camp "Community Tour":
RED WINGS DROP PUCK ON THE 2014-15 SEASON WITH SIXTH ANNUAL MI WINGS COMMUNITY TOUR PRESENTED BY ITC
… Tour Moves to Two Days (Sept. 16-17), Features Record 24 Players Set to Make Seven Stops En Route to Training Camp in Traverse City …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced the itinerary for the sixth annual MI Wings Community Tour, presented by ITC Holdings Corp., with a record 24 players set to partake in the two-day event on Sept. 16-17 leading up to Training Camp in Traverse City. Seven groups of Red Wings players are scheduled to visit two hospitals, a National Guard station, a fire department and an elementary school, along with stops to participate alongside the Motor City Blight Busters in Detroit and the Kids’ Food Basket Program in Grand Rapids. All seven stops on the tour are closed to the public.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"I don't want expectations to be unrealistic for Anthony Mantha," Holland said. "He's a really good prospect, and we're going to give him every opportunity over the next month to show where he's at with his career. But it's tough to score in NHL.
"We've had other players who have left juniors with impressive resumes, and some make it quickly and some need two or three years," Holland said. "It's not only about talent, it's how mature is the player mentally. The NHL is a very demanding league. I'd rather err to be cautious. I don't want to do damage to anyone's confidence. We're going to do what's right for Anthony Mantha and the Detroit Red Wings."
Red Wings mid-day news: on the prospect tourney & Captain’s Practice quips from DeKeyser & Andersson
Updated 2x at 2:21 PM: At Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings' players are still engaging in Captain's Practices...
Some 230 miles to the northwest, however, as Paul noted, there's quite a bit of "star power" about to hit the ice in Traverse City. NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale penned an article discussing the caliber of competition at the Red Wings' prospect tournament, and the list of current and former participants is impressive:
In the tournament's history, 440 players who participated have skated in at least one NHL game, including six with the 2013-14 Red Wings: Tomas Jurco, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Ryan Sproul.
"[The Traverse City tournament] always carries a lot of weight," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "The best players at that tournament usually make the NHL right away. Guys who are ready or close to it usually rise to the top and you can see it. It's a great tournament to evaluate players."
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.